Zayn Malik has left boy band One Direction but the group will continue without him, they said on Wednesday, in news set to break the hearts of millions of teenage girls worldwide.
Malik apologised to fans for leaving the British band, whose hits include “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Best Song Ever”, but said he had to do “what feels right”.
“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he said in a statement released by One Direction on social media. “I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world”, Malik added. The remaining members of the band — Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Niall Horan — sent Malik “all our love for the future”. “The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour,” they said. One Direction,
who played in Jakarta on Wednesday, have sold more than 50 million records and had 91 number one hits globally in countries from Britain to Denmark and New Zealand. Highlighting their popularity, six out of the 10 global trending topics on Twitter were about One Direction after Malik’s departure was announced. Malik, who is engaged to Little Mix pop star Perrie Edwards, quit the tour earlier this month due to stress after pictures appeared online showing him close to another woman in Thailand.